The United States embassy in Islamabad created a political storm on Wednesday by retweeting a tweet of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Ahsan Iqbal. The U.S. embassy told The Correspondent that the account was hacked.
The tweet was quickly deleted from the embassy’s timeline. However, it’s viral screenshot drew strong criticism from supporters of both the government and the opposition. Soon afterwards the embassy’s Twitter handle issued an apology for “unauthorised use”, saying “it does not endorse the posting or retweeting of political messages.”
But a senior cabinet minister dismissed it as too little too late and warned of “serious consequences”.
An official from the U.S. embassy in Islamabad talked to The Correspondent on conditions of anonymity and revealed that there was most likely a security breach; the account might have been hacked and the staff is currently investigating the issue.
“I can tell you that we believe we were hacked and are looking into it,” a U.S. embassy official told The Correspondent.
The controversy was kicked off when Ahsan Iqbal quoted the headline of a Washington Post article that termed Trump’s defeat in the U.S. election a “blow for the world’s demagogues and dictators.” Iqbal wrote in his tweet “ we have one [dictator] in Pakistan too and he would be shown the way out soon.”
Federal Cabinet Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari, along with other members of the government, have criticised the incident for being against diplomatic norms and have asked for a full inquiry. She said this incident ‘has serious consequences including staff visas scrutiny.”